BY ESTELLE KRAFT
We’ve posed the question before — Are Hunters Art? While the actual division’s artistic qualities could be debated, Cara Helminski’s oil paintings are undeniably beautiful.
Cara, of Cara Grace Fine Art, spends everyday around horses, whether it’s painting or riding. Based out of Dana Point, California, Cara spends much of her time riding and training at Haden and Clarke Sport Horses where she’s inspired by client horses and life at the barn. Before she moved to the west coast, she spent the first 14 years of her life competing in the hunters and equitation on the east coast. As for art, painting has always been a part of her life.
“My work is a reflection of what I love—a passion for horses and all the beauties of nature. Honoring our deep connection to nature and the earth, I am constantly striving to bring more vibrant beauty to every piece I create,” Cara said.
Her process begins with a photo. If the subject is nearby, she likes to take the photos herself in order to feel the presence of the horse. “[Art is] an expression of your inner creativity,” she when asked what art means to her.
Cara’s inspiration comes from the feeling the horse gives off, how their presence comes off to her. She then brings this inspiration to her home art study, where she spends on average of two weeks to create each piece of art.
Portraits are created with oil paint or watercolors on either pre-stretched canvas or canvas paper, while listening to music that matches her mood. The way the painting flows to Cara determines how much time it takes to complete. Her subject’s personality and the presence drive her creative flow, which help her portray the animal in the best possible way. Cara works on multiple paintings at a time, so that if she is stuck with one she can work on another to keep her creative mind turning.
She spends most of her time at the barn focusing on jumpers, and discovering inspiration for her next portrait. As an instructor, Cara loves to watch her students horse show, so often times she can be found at Southern California horse shows.
For more information regarding Cara’s work (and to contact her about a portrait of your beautiful animals!) head to her Etsy website, instagram or portfolio website where you can see her gallery and find more information on purchasing your own painting!